One of the biggest questions I get when it comes to staining floors is: Should I get my floors stained and if so, what color should I go with?
It’s easy to see why this can be such a dilemma for some people, your floors will have a huge impact on the look of your home and if you get them wrong, you’ll be stuck with them for a long, long time.
The answer isn’t as hard as you might think. There are a number of factors that will affect whether you should stain your floors and what stain color best suits your home, all of which need to be taken into consideration before making a decision.
Let’s go through a few steps to see what your decision should be.
To Stain or Not
The first decision to make is whether you should even consider if you floor should be stained or if it should be kept in its natural state.
Consider the following…
What Type of Wood Do You Have?
If you are lucky enough to have an exotic, rare or special wood floor such as mahogany, cherry, rosewood, walnut, aged pine and even maple then I strongly recommend they don’t be stained. They already look great in their natural colors. Most people stain their floors in an attempt to get them to look like one of these awesome floors, if you already have this type of hardwood floor in your home then you’re way ahead of the game.
On the other hand, maybe you have a more common wood like red or white oak. These floors can look great left their natural color, or they can be stained to make them look a more exotic shade like the above species.
Oak flooring takes stain very well with the correct techniques and they look great when done properly.
A lot of people don’t like the “old” style of “yellowish” natural oak they associate with their grandparent’s floors. If you’re one of these people, then a stained floor could be perfect for you.
The kind of flooring you have shouldn’t be the only deciding factor though. In the end it will all come down to your own tastes and preferences.
Should I Go For a Light or Dark Stain or Something In Between?
Again, this will depend on the style you want to have in your home. At the moment dark colors are all the rage in magazines. But this doesn’t mean it has to dictate your own style. They are your floors and you have to live with them. Plus what’s in now could be “out of style” soon according to the design gurus. You have to decide on something you like that will look good with your furnishings long-term.
On that note, red/brown shaded stains like Walnut and Chestnut have a very warming, homey effect in a home and are a very safe bet. Lighter shades like Cherry and Golden Oak will accent the natural grains and beauty of a floor while still giving it some depth and color. While dark shades like Ebony and Jacobean will make a grand statement in a home and show off furniture more.
Lighter floors can be better for small dark rooms as they will brighten them up, making them look bigger because they reflect light. Dark floors will absorb light and have the opposite effect.
One reason for going with a dark colored stain may be to hide blemishes or imperfections. If there are large areas of water damage or pet stains, then a dark ebony stain might be able to adequately mask these areas and other imperfections without having to do extensive repairs (assuming the wood itself is stable).
One other thing to note about dark floors is that maintenance will be somewhat more difficult. Scratches will show through easier and dust will be much more noticeable on the surface. So if you have a full house running through, scuffing things up, tracking dirt and dust in and you don’t want the stress of continually cleaning up, you may want to consider a lighter color. Lighter floors are considerably easier to maintain and keep looking clean.
your natural floor will be the most forgiving, the easiest to live with, clean and maintain floor.